COVID-19 update - 26 March 2020

This bulletin provides important information for people working in health and care across the North East and North Cumbria regarding guidance and actions being co-ordinated across our region to care for patients, staff and our communities in the light of COVID-19. This is a fast-moving and evolving situation. We will do our best to keep you updated daily with the latest information and key decisions from the Strategic Health Command Group. This group is led by Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. If you have any questions or would like us to send vital information to partners through this bulletin, please contact us here.
Message from Alan Foster
Alan Foster
Today Professor Chris Gray (medical director for Cumbria and North East) and Dr Mathew Beattie (medical director at NEAS) were interviewed by BBC Look North and Tyne Tees for the evening news about our readiness to care and protect our communities and staff in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

One of the important messages they both wanted to share was one of thanks - to our teams who are working tirelessly to make sure our health and care system is ready for what lies ahead. What we are dealing with is unprecedented but the response has been outstanding. This was also an opportunity for us to remind the public of the vital steps they can take to help us by staying at home and looking out for vulnerable neighbours.

We know that the availability of personal protective equipment is very much in the news and on all of our minds. We are getting deliveries and these are reaching the front line. We have been assured by the national team that more are coming and we are working round-the-clock with colleagues and the supply chain to get this vital equipment to teams. It’s crucial that this equipment reaches not just our hospitals but social care and primary care, so this is a particular focus for us all over the next few days.

A reminder that tonight at 8pm there is a call to ‘clap for our carers’ to show appreciation to health and care staff for their ongoing hard work as they treat people with Coronavirus. People are being encouraged to clap from their gardens, front doors, and balconies to show their support. #ClapForOurCarers #StayAtHomeSaveLives

Thanks again to everyone for their continued support.

Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
Guidance and other news

‘Stay home, save lives’ campaign: campaign materials are now available to download on the Campaign Resource Centre. Please flood your social media channels with this content.

Shielding vulnerable groups: Guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable people, was published yesterday.

Surge capacity: Following the press notice on the additional provision for patients being created at the Nightingale facility in London, regional colleagues are modelling similar contingency plans in their areas.

Volunteer announcement: Following the press notice yesterday on the volunteer army, an additional release has gone out on the huge response that the call for volunteers has had, with more than 400,000 people joining in one day. This can be viewed on the news section of the NHS England website.

The British Geriatric Society has produced care home guidance online. In particular it covers two key issues for care homes:
o What do we do about ‘wandering’ residents?
o Frail older people with atypical/non-respiratory/non-specific symptoms – do they have COVID?